The veil of secrecy was finally lifted on Monday after a senior official of the Election Commission of Pakistan disclosed that over 9.42 million extra ballot papers had been printed for last year’s general elections.
The official said the exact number of ballot papers printed was 181,743,000 (181.74 million). The number of registered voters across the country was 86.18m and, therefore, at least 172.37m ballot papers were required to be printed for the national and provincial assemblies.
But he asserted that the printing of extra papers was not something unusual as it had also happened in the past. The reasons were purely technical, he said, adding that each ballot paper book contained 100 leaves and 15 books were required at a polling station with 1,418 registered voters.
The official said the exact number of ballot papers for each constituency was communicated to provincial election commissioners by the returning officers concerned keeping in view the number of voters and these were printed by the government printing presses. In reply to a question, he agreed that the voters’ turnout had never exceeded over 60 per cent, but said the number of papers could not be reduced on assumptions. The number of ballot papers printed should be twice the number of voters. -dawn